Considerations when investing in Digitalization
It has been known for a long time – personalization converts. Online buyers are much more likely to buy if they get relevant information instead of a broad message and they demand a consistent buying experience on all sales channels.
For B2B business the challenges are very much the same. Afterall those that buy online after hours are the once that purchase goods on behalf of their employer during their workday and why should that experience be any different? This is supported by research by Forbes showing that B2B buyers have done 12 online searches and are more than half of the way into the purchase flow before they decide. And according to McKinsey B2B buyers are no longer afraid of making big purchases online. They are willing to spend big using remote or online services provided that the necessary information is available!
In short, personalization and good product information that minimize mis-purchase is the key both in B2C and B2B, but good product information is not necessarily the same for the two.
One may think that achieving this in a B2C business is easy since the B2C business know their customer requirements already from the brick-and-mortar shops. But it is still difficult mainly because the product- and -usage information currently stored in the head of the sales rep. now needs to be structured in digital solution that offers the same service through a browser or an App. On top of this tight integrations are required to ensure correct pricing and inventory availability. Accomplishing all this is difficult and that is the struggle of Omni.
For B2B companies regardless of whether they sell directly or through a distribution chain this is even more complicated as B2B business often sell tailor-made products or products for a specific application. Delivering relevant product information for such products requires more than specific product attributes like dimensions and color. In the B2B world the most important information is often fits-with. Sounds simple but, it is not! Where dimensions typically originate from a data-structured PIM system, fits-with depends on data stored elsewhere in ERP, CRM, or technical drawings like exploded views.
Given this, it is apparent that digitalizing a B2B business requires numeral integrations between systems and with that comes multiple vendors that must collaborate and coordinate deliveries. The multiply of those two equals risk and the best mitigator is minimizing both!
An immediate conclusion could be to choose a platform that has it all – ERP, PIM, eCommerce etc. Such solutions exists and while they match some simple business, packaged solutions are seldom a good choice for most, as they can be difficult or impossible to customize. So, what seams appealing in the beginning may soon result in poor customer service and a bad investment.
A good rule is - use solutions for their intended usage! Don’t squeeze an eCommerce solution into an ERP system because you will properly run into challenges when you want to serve the customer with an exploded views of his own installment instead of a simple list of products or similar.
The conclusion is: Invest in those solutions that offer as few integrations as possible and at the same time don’t fall for the temptation of misusing a solution for something it is not build for!
Given that integrations are required the second risk minimizer is vendor selection. The most sophisticated solutions, highest budgets, and most ambitious project can easily fall to ground if vendors don’t collaborate or if the delivery team doesn’t understand the complications and restrains that other vendors are challenged with. One way to mitigate this is to choose a vendor that offers resources for all technical and business aspects of the project.
Tune in for part two on Considerations when investing in Digitalization later this month!
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Our specialties in Dynamics 365 Business Central, Manufactoring, Warehouse Logistics, Digital commerce, Commerce, Omnichannel, Customer Experience, Digitalization, Digital Business, Customer Engagement, Software, Business Development, POS, Robotics, Blockchain, and AI.
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